How were Old Testament Saints Saved?

Jesus expressed his exclusivity as the only way to God in John 14:6:

Jesus said to him (Thomas), “I am athe way, and bthe truth, and cthe life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.1 (Emphasis mine.)

a John 10:9; Rom 5:2; Eph 2:18; Heb 10:20

b John 1:14

c John 1:4; 11:25; 1 John 5:20

1New American Standard Bible : 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA : The Lockman Foundation, 1995, S. Jn 14:6

Here is the entry that addresses the question at the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (

The OT saints were saved the same way the New Testament saints were/are saved, by faith.

For what does the Scripture say? “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” 4Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. 5But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness, 6just as David also speaks of the blessing upon the man to whom God reckons righteousness apart from works: 7“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered. 8“Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account” (Rom. 4:3-8).

     As you can see, the Bible tells us that Abraham was justified by faith (see Rom. 5:1 and Eph. 2:8-9).  That is, his faith is reckoned as righteousness, v. 4 above.  They were saved by faith in the Messiah in whom they were trusting.  Only, for them it was a trust in the future Messiah.  They knew He was coming as had been prophesied .
     Also, the Holy Spirit was there in the OT times the same as the NT times.  Consider Psalm 51:11, “Do not cast me away from Thy presence, And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me.”
     God did not change how He saved people in the New Testament.  It has always been by faith.  In the case of the OT people, they looked ahead in time to the Messiah.  We look back to Him and see the cross.

2 responses to “How were Old Testament Saints Saved?

  1. Hey, Dan! Good post. This is my understanding as well. How God will work out all that He has promised is for Him to complete. In dealing with my Jewish friends, I have found they know what Jesus has said, they’ve heard it their whole lives with the phrase thrown in “that’s why you’re going to hell!” I can’t aabide that type of ‘witnessing’ – God has a special place in His heart for His chosen people, I’m excited to see how He is going to work it all out. 😉


  2. You and me both! I would love to meet a few of the OT saints – Elijah in particular. I’d like a first hand account of when he faced off with the prophets of Baal!


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